Facebook is taking new, bold steps in how it’s users will be seeing the news on it’s platform. Noted Hillary supporter, Facebook C.E.O Mark Zuckerberg assured the users of his platform in stepping up Facebook’s role in removing what some might consider to be “fake news” from all of our Facebook feeds. Facebook’s users will now have a role to play.
“There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today. Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them. That’s why it’s important that News Feed promotes high quality news that helps build a sense of common ground.”
Zuckerberg is in the company of forums such as Twitter, YouTube, and Google in making it policy to select the stories or opinions it’s users should have access to. Anyone less than completely leftist in politics or opinion may be uneasy with the Facebook C.E.O.’s new initiative. Cultural commentators are already fighting an uphill battle on social media platforms.
Author Pamela Geller had her Facebook account suspended for her comments on the Orlando shooting. Conservative, African-born transsexual Theryn Meyer had her twitter banned after an argument with a social justice warrior. Pages like “Bikers Against Jihad” and “Warriors for Christ” have been repeatedly removed from Facebook with no recourse. Anything critical of Islam is already under the threat of being removed from social media for being reported as “hate speech,” while no traditional point of view receives such an accommodation (nor is it requested). Zuckerberg’s new announcement assures the content we see will be handpicked by popular vote.
“As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they’re familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source. The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly.” Posted the C.E.O.
The new system will have “trust rankings” which will organize the news outlets we see on Facebook according to their credibility based on surveys Facebook users themselves will fill out. This will become a new feature on Facebook and no details have been given on how questions will be presented or how many “yay” or “nah” votes it will take to impact a news sites rating. This departure will be a new change from what news we see being purely determined by Zuckerberg’s staff, but is a far cry from Facebook’s simpler original policy of seeing posts in your feed as they are posted.
People on social media remain skeptical of it’s effectiveness:
Zuckerberg’s plan assumes that no person surveying the news sources will be lying. It presumes that targeted harassment campaigns on social media haven’t been a tool for people wanting to silence dissenting voices. It also continues to turn a blind eye to the prejudices of it’s own staff, which is an issue punctuated by the fact that Facebook makes the wrong call on nearly half it’s reported posts. Letting the trolls vote appears to be their new solution.
The early days of Facebook and Twitter only providing a “block” button to be used at the consumers digression seem to be over. This new announcement is a promise of things to come in the future of receiving our news on Facebook.